- Jane Elliott
- Lesson of a Lifetime
- Jane Elliott, the American schoolmarm who would rid us of our racism
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On the day after Martin Luther King Jr. So Elliott decided to teach her class a daring lesson in the meaning of discrimination. She wanted to show her pupils what discrimination feels like, and what it can do to people. Elliott divided her class by eye color — those with blue eyes and those with brown. On the first day, the blue-eyed children were told they were smarter, nicer, neater, and better than those with brown eyes. Throughout the day, Elliott praised them and allowed them privileges such as a taking a longer recess and being first in the lunch line.
She has been talking about how ridiculous it is to judge someone based on the color of their skin for almost 50 years. She can hardly believe she still has to say it. She divided the children, who were all white, by eye color, and then she told the children that people with brown eyes were smarter, faster and better than those with blue eyes. She thinks her message is more important than ever amid growing conflict over race. She minces no words. She wants you to listen.
Elliott," Steven yelled as he slung his books on his desk. Why'd they shoot that King? Would you like to find out?
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She is known for her "Blue eyes—Brown eyes" exercise. She first conducted her famous exercise for her class on April 5, , the day after Martin Luther King Jr. When her local newspaper published compositions that the children had written about the experience, the reactions both positive and negative formed the basis for her career as a public speaker against discrimination. Elliott's classroom exercise was filmed the third time she held it with her third-graders to become The Eye of the Storm. This in turn inspired a retrospective that reunited the class members with their teacher fifteen years later in A Class Divided.
Jane Elliot was born in in Riceville, Iowa. She works as an American teacher and as a anti-racism activist. This established her career in diversity training. The exercise that Jane Elliot tried out on her third grade class in Riceville, Iowa, was a direct result on Martin Luther King's death. Afterward she had a class discussion about the assassination and racism in general. They were doing what White people do. When White people sit down to discuss racism what they are experiencing is shared ignorance.
Jane Elliott, internationally known teacher, lecturer, diversity trainer, and recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education, exposes prejudice and bigotry for what it is, an irrational class system based upon purely arbitrary factors., Immediately after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Lesson of a Lifetime
But while Griffin may personify an overt form of prejudice, the kind that draws near universal scorn, it's the unconscious, sublimated or throwaway manifestation of racism that tends to receive most institutional focus. Later this month a Manifesto Club report entitled The Myth of Racist Kids will argue that primary schoolchildren are being subject to a counterproductive level of anti-racist vigilance, in which childish insults are scrutinised for racism. The report's author, Adrian Hart, says: "Such anti-racist policies can create divisions where none had existed by turning every-day playground spats into 'race issues'… There are a small number of cases of sustained targeted bullying, and schools certainly need to deal with those. But most of these 'racist incidents' are just kids falling out. They don't need re-educating out of their prejudice — they and their teachers need to be left alone. It would be hard to reach a conclusion more at variance with the position of Jane Elliott.
Jane Elliott, the American schoolmarm who would rid us of our racism